Morocco receives a triumphant homecoming after historic fourth place at the World Cup

Tens of thousands of jubilant Moroccans welcomed their national team home on Tuesday after the North African nation’s footballers defied their wildest hopes to finish fourth at the World Cup in Qatar.

Fans filled the pitches and lined the alleys and streets in and around Rabat, lighting flares, waving flags, dancing to the beat of drums and cheering as a busload of suit-and-tie players rolled into the capital with a heavy crowd. police escort.

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Smiling players and coach Walid Regragui waved, kissed and snapped selfies to their ecstatic fans against the backdrop of the waving crowd and swinging palm springs.

At certain points along the parade route, crowds spilled from the sidewalks onto the four-lane highway where the bus was traveling. slowing down the vehicle as it made its way to the royal palace where King Mohammed VI was waiting to receive the players to “celebrate their great and historic achievement”.

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As the first African or Arab team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, the Moroccan team, known as the Atlas Lions, made history and were one of the biggest success stories of the tournament, hosted for the first time by an Arab country.

After beating former European colonial powers Belgium, Spain and Portugal, the team lost to France in the semi-finals. As a result of setting that record, players received a hero’s welcome.

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“Morocco’s participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup will go down in the history books as one of the most exciting campaigns since the tournament began,” cafe owner Reda Gazi, 27, told The Associated Press. “It was every Moroccan’s dream. to win something, especially because Morocco is a country where the passion for football is overwhelming.”

Morocco finished fourth in the competition, beating Croatia 1-2 in the play-off for third place on Saturday, beating the expectations of most Moroccans.

“I still can’t wrap my head around what happened at this World Cup,” added student Anour El Berkaoui, 23. “The team has now set the bar so high that we won’t be satisfied with anything less than winning this tournament. The upcoming African Cup of Nations .”

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The Moroccan team charmed many Arab football fans who saw a reflection of themselves in the team. The players waved the Palestinian flag after their victories and celebrated on the field with their mothers and children.

The team also provided support across Africa.

“As an African team, we broke a lot of records and made the whole continent proud,” said Rabat resident Omar Zorgane.

“Morocco as a whole will gain a lot from this year’s World Cup, from tourism to attracting the attention of other countries and possibly one of the biggest tournaments in the world in the future,” he said.


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